“Pilipinas Kay Ganda”: The new Philippine Department of Tourism slogan is loads of FAIL

photo: the old (and much better) Philippine tourism slogan

We recently got wind of the Department of Tourism’s new slogan. It’s supposed to be the Philippines’ new country marketing slogan, after about 8 years of “WOW Philippines“. The new slogan is “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” – obviously a rip off that old Metropop anthem from the 70’s,Umagang Kay Ganda“. Hey, any Tillie Moreno and Ray-Ann Fuentes fans in the house? Or if you prefer, it also reminds us of that morning show that ripped off the song title years later.

Of course it just literally means “Beautiful Philippines” but the pun is lost on people who can’t connect the dots to make the pop culture reference to the song or TV show.

Well I don’t like it, and apparently the slogan has picked up quite a few other haters on the Net as well. If the ad agency that created the campaign announced the new slogan early to create a buzz, they are certainly reaping a whirlwind of a social media backlash that just might rival the recall of the new GAP logo some weeks back.

Here’s my beef. “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” as an international marketing slogan, just doesn’t cut it. Because if you’re not Filipino, you won’t know what it means. If it was intended as a domestic slogan for Tagalog-speaking audiences, it’s not catchy enough – I think it sounds wimpy. On the other hand, the old slogan “Wow Philippines” was catchy, instantly recognizable, and worked for both domestic and international markets.

We can also contrast this with memorable marketing slogans from our Asian neighbors like – “Malaysia Truly Asia”, “Amazing Thailand”, “Surprising Singapore.” More slogans here, all in English.

As my twitter buddy @Bleubug (who hails from Colinsville, Virginia) pointed out, “@JimAyson I don’t know if I like that slogan or not. I only understand ‘Pilipinas’.”

Maybe I’m just a grumpy curmudgeon today, but there seems to be a snowballing online movement to kill the new slogan. There have been a number of blog posts about this already up and I’d be hard pressed to find anyone online who will go out to defend the new slogan.

Just to illustrate, I posted a tweet this morning. The tweet, “Retweet if you don’t like the Pilipinas Kay Ganda slogan” has made the rounds and has garnered quite a number of retweets in the 4 hours or so it was in circulation, so it’s interesting to find out how many others out there share my sentiment.

I haven’t found out too many people enthusiastic about the new slogan to defend it either. My bet is that the “anti” sentiment will continue to snowball until the department comes up with an appropriate response to contain the damage – if not pull out the slogan altogether.

Clearly, this is the Gap logo fiasco, local version.

15 thoughts on ““Pilipinas Kay Ganda”: The new Philippine Department of Tourism slogan is loads of FAIL

  1. Eventually I did find out what the slogan meant but I don’t think it’s good advertising to have to make someone do research.

    On the other hand I’ve just submitted this slogan to my Government for consideration:

    USA: Muy Bonita!

    1. Well it’s not just blogging, everyone with a twitter or Facebook account and an opinion is weighing in. Right now the “ANTIs” far outnumber anything positive about the new slogan, so I’d say the DOT will totally scrap the slogan by the end of the week. It’s a damaged brand already, it is unusable. If the DOT and their ad agency Campaigns and Grey doesn’t understand this by now, they get an F in marketing. Public Opinion is the biggest FGD study they can ever have.

  2. Well, if we’re gonna be as alliterative as our neighbors like Malaysia Truly Asia, Incredible India, or Surprising Singapore


    Its bound to grab attention, and its in english 😀

  3. suggestion lang po.

    Philippines: Island of Upsidedown Beauty

    land: scenic and historical views and water – underground river, reef, beach

  4. Lest we forget, the Philippines has Seven Major Languages. Not to mention the multitude of dialects spread all over the islands. It’s as if most of the beautiful places of this country is in Manila.

    Instead of highlighting our strength which is our diversity, we reverted back to the old Tagalog-centric way of doing things for the whole country which, as history proved it, does not work. Another misplaced sense of nationalism. India is an ancient kingdom, Malaysia is fiercely nationalistic, Thailand was never conquered and yet these countries use ENGLISH as a campaign slogan.

    Even communication students know this, one must create his message in view of the target market. When the whole world is now speaking English, we chose to be myopic and use Tagalog. In this time-constrained world, who has the time to research for the meaning of “maganda”?! Aren’t we trying to position ourselves as the number one country for BPO services because of our supposed English proficiency? And isn’t it true that foreign visitors find it easy to tour this country because of our ability to speak English? ?…this slogan runs smack against all these.

    The new tourism secretary sucks. How could he not analyze the whole thing before going public? Kawawa ang presidente ko. NOY, WALA KANG UTANG SA MGA TAONG ITO. SIBAKIN MO NA ANG WALANG GAMIT AT BOBO. I bet Boy Abunda is a lot better than this guy. If they can’t find any other replacement yet then they should bring back Ace Durano, so what if he was an Arroyo dog? That guy seemed to do his stuff.

    Politics kill this country again and again and again.

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